20/01/2014 Newsnight


20/01/2014

The Lib Dems in a mess over Lord Rennard, the UN in a mess over Syria, spaceships chasing comets, and cafés that charge by the minute. With Jeremy Paxman.


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Transcript


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He certainly is not a household name, but the Liberal Democrats

:00:09.:00:14.

failure to deal effectively with allegations against the party's

:00:15.:00:18.

former chief executive are making it a laughing stock.

:00:19.:00:22.

Here is a quick reminder of how the party's organised. Is it any

:00:23.:00:27.

surprise it is in such a mess? Better to have a party of democrats

:00:28.:00:33.

than dictators the Lib Dems tell me. When your entire leadership

:00:34.:00:37.

structure looks like spaghetti, perhaps it is time for change.

:00:38.:00:41.

First Iran was invited to the UN peace talks, then it got disinvited.

:00:42.:00:47.

If he's so crucial to peace in Syria, where the clumsy

:00:48.:00:52.

backpeddling. And... Ladies and gentlemen it looks

:00:53.:00:56.

like we have a signal, looks like Rosetta has indeed woken up.

:00:57.:01:01.

So the 500 million miles wake-up call works. Will Rosetta's space

:01:02.:01:07.

mission tell us anything useful? The presenter of the Sky At Night

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believes so, at least. Well, unless you have the misfortune

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to be a Liberal Democrat, the sorry saga of Lord Rennard, the party

:01:24.:01:28.

inquiry and the unissued apology is the gift that goes on giving. Sleazy

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behaviour in an organisation built on piety, inept procedures, confused

:01:34.:01:37.

leadership, embarrassment and bad feeling within the party.

:01:38.:01:44.

Shaweden fraud everywhere else, Lord Rennard issued a very long statement

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saying among other things that he hadn't even been allowed to see the

:01:49.:01:51.

report into accusations that he sexually harassed fellow party

:01:52.:01:55.

members. Is it any way to run a party. When I meet people around the

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country it is obvious that many of you have strong and mixed

:02:02.:02:06.

reactions... . Nick Clegg did know how to say sorry, he did it in a

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video which some kind soul set to music lest anyone forget the lyrics.

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# I'm sorry # I'm sorry

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This morning he called on the party's former chief executive, Lord

:02:21.:02:25.

Rennard, to do the same, not for failing on promises, but of claims

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several activists have made of unwanted sexual advances.

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Today we looked everywhere for Lord Rennard, to no avail. As the day

:02:37.:02:40.

progressed it appeared an apology was not forth coming. Earlier this

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afternoon his suspension from the party was announced, spending a

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further inquiry into his -- pending a further inquiry into his past

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actions. He released a lengthy statement. He repeated his denial of

:02:54.:03:01.

the distress for the women. And said he regretted any embarrassment or

:03:02.:03:06.

hurt or upset he caused. But he did not want to apologise fearing future

:03:07.:03:11.

civil action. Plus he said he didn't believe people should be forced to

:03:12.:03:15.

say things they do not mean. Support from that from friends in

:03:16.:03:26.

the Lords at the weekend. Comparing Nick Clegg of this. The North Korean

:03:27.:03:33.

judicial system looking benign. Some have spotted a problem with the

:03:34.:03:37.

analogy. The North Korean hierarchy looks like this and the structure of

:03:38.:03:43.

the Lib Dems' hierarchy looks like this. Nick Clegg, curiously up here

:03:44.:03:47.

in the left top corner has said it is unacceptable for Lord Rennard to

:03:48.:03:51.

carry on in the Lords you without a fulsome apology. Lord Rennard who

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sits on the Lords and place on the Federal Policy Committee, has made

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it clear he won't. Under the Lib Dem party structure Nick Clegg can't

:03:59.:04:02.

remove the whip, only the Lib Dem leader of the Lords can. Even then

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he can be overturned by a vote from peers. Now Lord Rennard's suspension

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today was at the hands of the regional parties commission which

:04:12.:04:15.

doesn't seem to be on here. Everyone got that? Shaun Kemp, the Deputy

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Prime Minister's former special adviser, tells me the slightly

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arcane structure has served them well in the past, on coalition

:04:25.:04:30.

negotiations for example. But... It strikes me there is another side to

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the coin, that is the good thing of the level of accountability and

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democracy. Where you have a situation where the

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democratically-elected leader of the party can't even remove the whip

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from a member of his own party in the House of Lords without

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potentionally facing a vote in the House of Lords from the unelected

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colleagues of that person, then I think we do have to ask some

:04:48.:04:50.

questions about is that structure set up in the right way? Is it set

:04:51.:04:55.

up in a way that is good practice or politics? Would the answer to that

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question be, questionings definitely not"? I think there has to be a way

:05:03.:05:06.

that a party can preserve what is good about the checks and balances

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and democracy. But we have to let the party leader, elected by all

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members, to owe cruellyly take quick decisions when in the best interests

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of the party. Close friends of Lord Rennard say he sees himself as a

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hero of the party, and feels persecuted by what he would call "an

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unfair line of attack". He talks in his statement of a smear campaign

:05:30.:05:32.

against him. Interestingly he thanks his friends in the Lords for their

:05:33.:05:37.

support, he suggests they should let the matter rest. An indication that

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their swords have not always been helpful to him? I'm not sure anyone

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has done the process any favour over the weekend. We should have had a

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period of calm reflection. The disciplinary procedure had been gone

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through, recommendations had been made. And time should have been

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taken to allow those recommendations to be implemented. Rather than trial

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by media. There is, of course, a very human

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face to this strategy, the man who brought the Liberal Democrats

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victory after victory for decade, now says he's considering legal

:06:10.:06:13.

action against his own party. In North Korea they faced down that

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behaviour with wild dogs. The Liberal Democrats, well as you have

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heard, they prefer another inquiry. With us now from Norwich is Bridget

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hare risks one of the women who complained about Lord Rennard, also

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here is Lord Greaves, a senior Lib Dem member of the House of Lords. We

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asked for someone to speak on behalf of the Lib Dem leadership, but it

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took them nine hours and at the end of that time they were unable to

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offer us anyone Bridge Bridget Harris, Lord Rennard

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says he can't issue an apology for fear of you and others might sue?

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Obviously I can't answer that question, it clearly depends on all

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the circumstances. Yes you can, if he said sorry would you sue? What I

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could say is I'm happy to accept on a personal level his apology. If

:07:03.:07:06.

he's willing to take responsibility for his actions. But the real

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absent. He can't say sorry because it is admitting something for which

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you, you say, or imply, clearly might sue him? Well of course, there

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we are. That is the conundrum that we face. We have never had a proper

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disciplinary procedure or investigation that has been able to

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question or investigate or indeed even cross-examine the evidence that

:07:28.:07:30.

both myself and the other women and also Lord Rennard has put forward.

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All we have had is investigations to have found them to be credible, that

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what myself and the other women have said is believable. Nobody over the

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last 11 months has questioned anything we have said. The problem

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is the Liberal Democrats manifestly failed over a period of ten years to

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investigate these allegations and complaints, in the way that any

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other normal organisation or work place discrimination procedure would

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have done. Lord Greaves, how much damage is this doing to the party?

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It is doing a lot of damage. It is getting worse by the day. It was bad

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enough yesterday, it last got worse with everything that's happened

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today. Quite frankly, the party has got to take action to stop it

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getting worse and then start getting better. It has tried to do that by

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telling Lord Rennard he should apologise? The problem is, I don't

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want to go into the details of all of that, which have been analysed

:08:27.:08:29.

hugely in the media. But the real problem, I think, is that the

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leadership of the party, broadly defined, not just Nick Clegg, have

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taken action which actually has rebounded and made matters worse.

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That's incompetent leadership. I think the advice that they have been

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getting, for example, when the report was first issued it was

:08:51.:08:55.

obviously that there had to be a news management strategy by people

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in the party. It was a difficult issue. That should have been a joint

:08:59.:09:01.

strategy between the leadership and Lord Rennard. They failed hopelessly

:09:02.:09:05.

to do that. Everything that has happened has created more stress in

:09:06.:09:10.

the party, more uproar in different parts of the party. So what we have

:09:11.:09:14.

now got is two different factions, if you like in the party, two groups

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of people who are approaching this from completely different angles and

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who increasingly are falling out with each other. They are simply

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chucking missiles at each other and now we're being told that Lord

:09:26.:09:32.

Rennard may be taking legal action, bridge get Harris says she may be

:09:33.:09:35.

taking legal action. This is a nightmare. The decision today to

:09:36.:09:42.

suspend Lord Rennard and have a new disciplinary procedure is likely

:09:43.:09:47.

take several months. There is a whole series of timebombs being laid

:09:48.:09:54.

for the future where legal action, legal action, a new inquiry that

:09:55.:09:59.

will report perhaps a few weeks, or very soon before the next round of

:10:00.:10:02.

elections. It is nonsense. What the party really has to do now is to get

:10:03.:10:08.

a grip on this and set up a reconciliation and mediation system

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to bring the two sides together, start them talking and work towards

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whatever levels of agreement that can be reached. That is a very

:10:23.:10:25.

Liberal Democrat solution? It is not, on a much grander scale it

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happened in South Africa. It got Ian Paisley sitting down with people he

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would never have. That is the process that now should take place.

:10:45.:10:48.

Bridget do you worry about the damage this is doing to your party?

:10:49.:10:53.

Yes, obviously in many ways. But I think that is one of the core

:10:54.:10:56.

problems. The way that Lord Greaves described it, I think the colloquial

:10:57.:11:00.

expression would be "we don't wash our dirty linen in public". As he

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has rightly said it causes a lot of damage, it is horrible to see all

:11:07.:11:09.

the infighting, why not all shut up and deal with it behind closed

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doors. That is the very tactic they took over ten years to try to deal

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with. If they tried to deal with the allegations the women were making

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behind closed doors, through informal processes, trying to get

:11:22.:11:24.

everyone to informally and quietly and privately say sorry and work it

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all out between them and find some redress. The consequence of that was

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nobody in the party actually in recent times were aware of the fact

:11:33.:11:36.

that these galeses surrounded Lord Rennard. He was becoming --

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allegations surrounded Lord Rennard, and he was becoming more and more

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involved in the party and being invited to gender-balanced weekends

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for the party. That was worrying the women. When you don't deal with the

:11:50.:11:54.

process according to fair and straight forward rules. This is all

:11:55.:11:57.

in the past, we can argue about the past over ten years and over the

:11:58.:12:00.

past year, we can argue about the last few days. The problem is we are

:12:01.:12:05.

where we are now, and the party is in a dreadful state. Therefore we

:12:06.:12:09.

have to take it from where we are now and set up a process, which

:12:10.:12:14.

would be inclusive, which would be completely inclusive, but where the

:12:15.:12:17.

different people and the different sides of the party start to work

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together again. We are all supposed to be liberal, Liberal Democrats. At

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the moment increasingly we are all falling out with the people who are

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supposed to be our colleagues and our comrades in arms. Just engage

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with that Bridget Harris? I would like to, directly. We are not all

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friends and colleagues when actually one of us is accused of sexual

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harassment, that is something where myself and other women are perfectly

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entitled to take forward a complaint. I don't see why party

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loyalty should come into it. I'm perfectly loyal to Liberal Democrats

:12:51.:12:52.

and the policies and the coalition and the Government. I'm perfectly

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loyal to the liberal cause. Why what I don't see why I'm responsible for

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or loyal to is when somebody absolutely inappropriately tries to

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take advantage of their power position or nor do I believe it is

:13:06.:13:12.

very fair for other people. We have heard you saying this over again and

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we are where we are, we understand the arguments. I'm not talking about

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Lord Rennard in particular, I'm talking about the fact that people I

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have worked with and campaigned with thought well up the 50 years are

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falling out in droves and are getting very angry with each other

:13:32.:13:36.

in a way which unless it is solved and sorted out, which will take some

:13:37.:13:40.

time, but unless it is sorted out it is going to produce fault lines and

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schisms in the party which will last for years. Thank you both very much.

:13:47.:13:51.

I will have to cut you off there. Thank you very much. Coming up:

:13:52.:14:09.

Last night the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, invited Iran to talks

:14:10.:14:15.

supposed to move Syria towards an end of its Civil War. When some of

:14:16.:14:19.

the Syrian opposition discovered that he had failed to get Iran's

:14:20.:14:23.

agreement to what's already been determined, they developed cold

:14:24.:14:27.

feet. So the world's most senior public servant spent much of the day

:14:28.:14:31.

ducking and diving to avoid explaining how he had managed to

:14:32.:14:34.

make such a Horlicks of what is supposed to be such an important and

:14:35.:14:39.

carefully thought-through peace conference. Tonight? Tonight a

:14:40.:14:42.

little over an hour ago he withdrew the invitation to Iran.

:14:43.:14:48.

This is a real shambles isn't it? It looks like diplomatic attempt to

:14:49.:14:52.

bounce Iran into these talks, it has gone horribly wrong. When Ki-Moon

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announced this unexpectedly on Sunday night, there was an immediate

:14:59.:15:01.

reaction from the sane Syrian opposition group, and the Syrian

:15:02.:15:05.

national opposition, who said hang on, this wasn't what we agreed. Iran

:15:06.:15:09.

one of President Assad's Mainz backers. The same came out of the

:15:10.:15:12.

state department the following morning. What followed, as you said,

:15:13.:15:17.

was ducking and diving, and then this uninvited. At issue was the

:15:18.:15:23.

Geneva communique of 2012, which was the basis for these talks on Friday.

:15:24.:15:29.

Which essentially calls for a negotiated transition of power in

:15:30.:15:33.

Sirria. To western powers, US and Britain included, means without

:15:34.:15:39.

President Assad. It seems that Ban Ki-Moon thought he had an agreement

:15:40.:15:42.

from the Iranians that they would recognise that basis. It seems he

:15:43.:15:47.

was wrong. That led to this uninvite. The question is how many

:15:48.:15:50.

people were on board? I have spoken tonight to a senior US official who

:15:51.:15:54.

said the Americans were on board all the way until the Iranians did what

:15:55.:16:00.

seems to be an about-face. The talk seemed to be saved, the Syrian

:16:01.:16:04.

National Coalition which had to be strong armed into going say they are

:16:05.:16:08.

going now and it is a huge who blah to the United Nations -- blow to the

:16:09.:16:12.

United Nations. What next? The talks will happen but it is questionable

:16:13.:16:15.

whether we are closer or better off this evening after this Iranian

:16:16.:16:20.

invite and uninvite than we were before we happened. The man

:16:21.:16:26.

conducting the negotiations will be sitting in a room with one group of

:16:27.:16:30.

people who don't accept the premise of a negotiated transfer without

:16:31.:16:35.

President Assad, that is the Syrian Government. The other group of

:16:36.:16:39.

people who are the Syrian National Coalition who don't represent the

:16:40.:16:42.

fighters doing the war on the ground. Diplomats have been playing

:16:43.:16:45.

down expectations of what can come out of this. They are saying it is a

:16:46.:16:49.

start, the beginning of a process, what we might see best case

:16:50.:16:56.

scenario, some very small negotiated solutions to local ceasefires to get

:16:57.:17:02.

aid in. In a war that has produced much horror, there was further

:17:03.:17:07.

horror this evening? Yes, we saw a cachet of pictures. We can show you

:17:08.:17:11.

one of them now that you will almost certainly find disturbing. It is one

:17:12.:17:15.

of more than 50,000 images that have come out in a report tonight. The

:17:16.:17:21.

authors of the report say show systematic abuse and killing of

:17:22.:17:25.

detainees in Syria's jails. I should say the report was commissioned by

:17:26.:17:30.

Qatar, which is participant in the war, it is supporting some of the

:17:31.:17:33.

Syrian opposition groups. It has been put together by a London firm

:17:34.:17:37.

of lawyers. But it has also been showed to some very eminent

:17:38.:17:41.

international lawyers and some forensic experts. It shows mostly

:17:42.:17:47.

pictures of young men, emaciated, apparently starved to death, many of

:17:48.:17:52.

them, their bodies showing signs of torture, strangulation and the like.

:17:53.:17:59.

The report says they were taken by a military policeman working for the

:18:00.:18:04.

Syrian regime between March 2011, and right at the beginning of the

:18:05.:18:07.

protest and last August. The report's author said they have made

:18:08.:18:10.

them available to the United Nations and human rights groups and the

:18:11.:18:14.

lawyers who examined them say this brings up the possibility of human

:18:15.:18:18.

rights charges. But I think the emotional impact these pictures have

:18:19.:18:24.

make it possible, they might become a totemic emotional rallying cry for

:18:25.:18:30.

international opinion. Joining us from Washington is PJ Crawley,

:18:31.:18:35.

former US Secretary of State, with us is the former Editor in Chief of

:18:36.:18:43.

for Foreign Followcy Magazine. Let's talk a little bit about this

:18:44.:18:48.

invitation and withdrawal of invitation. It does look

:18:49.:18:54.

extraordinarily inept, doesn't it? I think what Ban Ki-Moon ultimately

:18:55.:19:01.

faced was two unresolvable situations under the current set of

:19:02.:19:08.

circumstances. I think it is any diplomatic process involving Syria,

:19:09.:19:11.

Iran has to be part of the process other it will try to undermine the

:19:12.:19:15.

process from outside. What he was forced to do today is avoid void the

:19:16.:19:20.

total collapse of the process before it began. He probably faced the

:19:21.:19:24.

Syrian opposition not showing up on Wednesday and not being prepared to

:19:25.:19:27.

sit down with the Syrian Government on Friday. Is this what happens when

:19:28.:19:35.

you try to incorporate a country like Iran in a process like this

:19:36.:19:39.

Geneva business, of trying to get a settlement in Syria? It is that, but

:19:40.:19:44.

more importantly it is another man festation of a trend where power is

:19:45.:19:47.

fragments and diffused, everybody has a little power, but nobody has

:19:48.:19:52.

the power to create a structure and the levers that makes things happen.

:19:53.:19:56.

The UN, we just saw what happened, the United States doesn't have all

:19:57.:20:01.

the power, not even the Saudi, Iran, no-one seems to have the power.

:20:02.:20:04.

Everyone has a little bit of power, no-one has the power to create the

:20:05.:20:11.

possibility of progress. Yet, presumably on the other hand, if you

:20:12.:20:14.

don't involve players like Iran, which has a very complicated agenda.

:20:15.:20:20.

A complicated role in that part of the world and elsewhere. If you

:20:21.:20:23.

don't engage them, you can't make any progress, can you? It is hard to

:20:24.:20:28.

imagine that you have a solution to the Syria situation without Iran

:20:29.:20:32.

being part of the conversation. And agreeing to some of the some of the

:20:33.:20:38.

terms. That is impossible. Statement the centre of these negotiations in

:20:39.:20:42.

Geneva is the idea of creating a transitional Government. That it is

:20:43.:20:45.

unacceptable to the Government and to the Iranians. Do you think it was

:20:46.:20:53.

wise to involve the Iranians overtly in these talks? That has been a

:20:54.:21:04.

source of disagreement for the United Nations, who wants Iran in at

:21:05.:21:07.

the start, and the United States who wants Iran in but only in certain

:21:08.:21:11.

circumstances. It just underscores as was said, the complex politics

:21:12.:21:16.

behind this. Everyone has a negative card, no-one has a solid hand that

:21:17.:21:25.

actually can make progress. Ultimately we don't have the

:21:26.:21:29.

conditions. Getting the process started is useful. Ultimately there

:21:30.:21:34.

has to be diplomatic solution, there can't be a military solution. It

:21:35.:21:40.

reminds me of Bosnia, we may well see years before the conditions come

:21:41.:21:43.

together that lead to diplomatic breakthrough. And getting this

:21:44.:21:47.

process started and trying to deal with some interim steps. How can you

:21:48.:21:53.

narrow the conflict? How can you create safe areas where you can

:21:54.:21:57.

deliver humanitarian assistance, then work the politics and ultimate

:21:58.:22:02.

diplomatic solution down the road, extraordinarily complex. In the end

:22:03.:22:05.

there are an awful lot of unshowns in all of this, aren't there? Yes,

:22:06.:22:09.

will the's not forget these negotiations and the role of Iran in

:22:10.:22:15.

these negotiations is going on at the same time where there is a

:22:16.:22:22.

larger negotiation concerning Iran's nuclear problem at this point for

:22:23.:22:25.

Iran the Mainz point is to get the economy back on stack. You know it

:22:26.:22:29.

has been devastated by sanctions, they are willing, they are making

:22:30.:22:33.

concessions, the Iranians have promised that they are going to move

:22:34.:22:40.

forward. As long as they get the sanctions lowered.

:22:41.:22:45.

But that was a process, the negotiations with Iran about their

:22:46.:22:48.

nuclear programme. It was conducted pretty quietly. From which suddenly

:22:49.:22:53.

a conclusion is declared to the world. It is unlike participation in

:22:54.:22:58.

a highly visited conference like the one in Geneva? We don't know if

:22:59.:23:02.

something like that w going on in the case of Syria. The problem with

:23:03.:23:12.

Syria is you have many more players. It is not just the two Mainz players

:23:13.:23:18.

and Iran the nuclear problem, the United States senior officers

:23:19.:23:22.

meeting with the Ukrainian. There is all sorts of players having a say

:23:23.:23:26.

son the matter. The problem is the situation is so fragments, power is

:23:27.:23:31.

so diffused and distressed it is hard to know who they are. Even who

:23:32.:23:35.

you talk to, even the members of the opposition in Syria who have been

:23:36.:23:39.

invited do not represent the whole spectrum of players in the

:23:40.:23:43.

opposition. There are some fighters there that are significant, that

:23:44.:23:46.

have power and fire power that are not part of the conversation. Is the

:23:47.:23:55.

United Nations the appropriate vehicle to be conducted these sorts

:23:56.:24:01.

of talks? I think it is the only vehicle that all the players can at

:24:02.:24:08.

least pay some attention to, or not dismiss lightly. Following up on

:24:09.:24:12.

what was said, I also think that the politics are not necessarily clear

:24:13.:24:21.

in Iran. Foreign ministers may well have given Ban Ki-Moon some

:24:22.:24:24.

assurance in private that it accepted the Geneva principle,

:24:25.:24:29.

including at least the idea of a muttal acceptable Government of

:24:30.:24:32.

transition. But reap today was unwilling to say that publicly, and

:24:33.:24:36.

there are all kinds of hardliners, from a public standpoint if Iran is

:24:37.:24:42.

unwilling to say it is at least open to an idea that Al-Assad has to step

:24:43.:24:47.

aside. That became a bridge too far not just for the UN or the United

:24:48.:24:52.

States. It puts it above the Syria issue in terms of importance, but a

:24:53.:25:00.

bridge too far for Iran itself. The distressing aspect of the

:25:01.:25:04.

diplomatic shenanigans, is upon them and a conclusion of a successful

:25:05.:25:08.

arangment to end the war, hang the lives of thousands of men, women and

:25:09.:25:12.

children. The Syrian Civil War has been a big test of President Obama's

:25:13.:25:16.

ability to act as international policeman. He hasn't emerged from

:25:17.:25:20.

that test covered in glory. We have been covering the Syrian Civil War

:25:21.:25:28.

against it began, this is the assessment.

:25:29.:25:31.

It is time for Al-Assad to get out of the way. The only way to bring

:25:32.:25:41.

stability and peace to Syria is for Al-Assad to step down. We We condemn

:25:42.:25:48.

this indiscriminate killing, it is further evidence that Al-Assad has

:25:49.:25:56.

to go. We sat by and did relatively nothing, despite what the

:25:57.:26:00.

administration may claim. The President for a perfectly

:26:01.:26:04.

understandable reason, really has wanted to keep this problem at arm's

:26:05.:26:09.

length. He really has wanted it to disappear.

:26:10.:26:14.

I have been crossing over this border into Syria for two-and-a-half

:26:15.:26:19.

years, and seen hundreds of refugee camps. What began as a largely

:26:20.:26:24.

peaceful process, has descended into an appalling stifle war. Killing

:26:25.:26:29.

more than 100,000 people and displacing millions. On the eve of

:26:30.:26:34.

the latest attempt to strike a peace deal, diplomacy is giving it another

:26:35.:26:38.

shot. There is little chance for optimisim. Despite their rhetoric,

:26:39.:26:47.

the US and others have failed to dislodge President Assad.

:26:48.:26:51.

August 2011, the uprising is five months old, under pressure to

:26:52.:27:01.

respond to Syria's crackdown on protestors, it is said Bashar

:27:02.:27:06.

Al-Assad must go. He draws a line on chemical weapons, June 201, the

:27:07.:27:10.

White House says the red line has been breached but no major response.

:27:11.:27:17.

Two months later a chemical attack in Damascus kills hundreds. Obama

:27:18.:27:22.

calls for parliament to vote for military action? The following month

:27:23.:27:27.

Syria agrees to decommissioning the weapons.

:27:28.:27:37.

When Barack Obama took office he wanted to reset the US relationship

:27:38.:27:45.

with the Islamic nations. He promised a new beginning, democratic

:27:46.:27:51.

change to the east. Syria broke the mould, its ethnic and regional

:27:52.:27:59.

aspects made things difficult. He had powerful allies and friends on

:28:00.:28:02.

the UN Security Council. Critics described a divided administration,

:28:03.:28:08.

led by a President whose focus was elsewhere. I don't think it was ever

:28:09.:28:16.

his intention that Syria would be in a humanitarian cat it is a

:28:17.:28:21.

troughity. -- catastrophe. It was never his intention that Al-Qaeda,

:28:22.:28:29.

of all things, should arise in the eastern part of the country. It was

:28:30.:28:34.

never his intention that Syria would be sliding inexorably into a

:28:35.:28:39.

peculiar form of state failure. But all of these are cons sequence,

:28:40.:28:46.

unintended as they may be of the policy that's been pursued for the

:28:47.:28:53.

last 33 months. What began as a peaceful protest

:28:54.:28:58.

movement was met with an iron fist. President Obama, Cameron and the

:28:59.:29:01.

French and German leaders all said Al-Assad must step aside. Sanctions

:29:02.:29:07.

were imposed, embassies closed, and limited aid for rebel fighters.

:29:08.:29:11.

Efforts to support the opposition pressure the Syrian regime and hold

:29:12.:29:15.

the violence, and produce few results on the ground. The rebels

:29:16.:29:26.

have now moved up because the Government's (gunfire) has been

:29:27.:29:28.

trying to push into this area. It is a very confused situation, we know

:29:29.:29:34.

there are snipers all around here. Because it is an urban area the

:29:35.:29:40.

sounds ring out, but you can't tell which direction they are actually

:29:41.:29:42.

coming from. When some in the administration

:29:43.:29:47.

wanted to give weapons to the rebels, President Obama was said to

:29:48.:29:51.

be disengaged. Worried that Ameri would become embroilled in the

:29:52.:29:54.

region again. The President, I do not believe

:29:55.:29:59.

understands the importance of American exceptionalism. I don't

:30:00.:30:02.

think he appreciates that if there is a vacuum, because of a withdrawal

:30:03.:30:07.

of American troops, and lack of leadership, that vacuum can be

:30:08.:30:11.

filled by very, very bad people who do not hold the standards and values

:30:12.:30:23.

of international conduct that we do. In foreign affairs he is persuaded

:30:24.:30:26.

that the United States needs to spend more sustained attention to

:30:27.:30:30.

Asia and China. Syria has not figured in his sense

:30:31.:30:40.

of priority, so he's really trying to keep the problem at arm's length

:30:41.:30:46.

and hopefully it would solve itself. Opposition groups supported by the

:30:47.:30:49.

west had little power on the ground, as the conflict intensified,

:30:50.:30:53.

increasingly radical fighters filled the vacuum, and the bloodshed

:30:54.:30:59.

escalated. This is a simply appalling situation, the doctors

:31:00.:31:02.

have tried to revive this young man and failed. He has just been

:31:03.:31:06.

pronounced dead. The situation inside here is one of unbelievable

:31:07.:31:15.

chaos. When hundreds were killed in a chemical take last August,

:31:16.:31:19.

President Obama blamed the Syrian Government and authorised military

:31:20.:31:27.

force. We had a long meeting with the President in the Oval office,

:31:28.:31:33.

and this was after the latest chemical and weapons attack by

:31:34.:31:36.

Bashar Al-Assad. He said he wanted to do three things, one degrade

:31:37.:31:43.

Bashar Al-Assad's chemical weapons capability. Increase support to the

:31:44.:31:48.

opposition and reverse the moment um on the battlefield -- the momentum

:31:49.:31:54.

on the battlefield against Bashar Al-Assad. We went and told the press

:31:55.:32:00.

what the President said. Never again did he mention those latter two. Did

:32:01.:32:04.

you detect the President was looking for a way out or alternative. Not

:32:05.:32:08.

just in the words he was using but the way he presented the arguments

:32:09.:32:13.

to you and senator Graham? I may not have thought he was looking for a

:32:14.:32:18.

way out. But I certainly detected a lack of enthusiasm. The President

:32:19.:32:25.

changed tack, asking a reluctant Congress to vote on military action.

:32:26.:32:30.

When Syria agreed to decommission its chemical weapons, strikes were

:32:31.:32:33.

put on hold and the vote called off. The President had to contend with a

:32:34.:32:38.

war-weary public and the White House believed it successfully contained

:32:39.:32:44.

President Assad and brought Damascus to the negotiating table. I spent

:32:45.:32:48.

the last two years travelling inside northern Syria and witnessed its

:32:49.:32:53.

dissent into chaos. What is in effect a failed state. Now critics

:32:54.:32:58.

of the administration would say that is partly result of the The the lack

:32:59.:33:11.

of engagment. We want to keep institutions intact and prevent a

:33:12.:33:15.

vacuum that is filled by forces in their own way could be as bad Assad

:33:16.:33:20.

Al-Assad. It is through negotiated transition. One interesting

:33:21.:33:23.

development that has a good side and a very bad side. The bad side is

:33:24.:33:29.

what you alluded to, which is the increasing prominence of extremist

:33:30.:33:34.

groups inside Sirria. They pose a danger today and a greater one in

:33:35.:33:42.

the future. Once What that has done is concentrate the minds outside of

:33:43.:33:46.

Syria. If the talks happened and America

:33:47.:33:49.

and Russia will have brought parts of the opposition and the Government

:33:50.:33:52.

of Syria together for the first time. That will be an achievement.

:33:53.:33:56.

For those fighting on the other side of the border, they won't be

:33:57.:34:00.

represented, and unlikely to be persuade by any deal. In effect the

:34:01.:34:06.

lack of a cohesive policy and the interference of outside powers has

:34:07.:34:10.

allowed the war and extremism to flourish, some fear it has

:34:11.:34:13.

diminished America's standing in the region. Crucially the bloodshed and

:34:14.:34:19.

chaos inside Syria are unlikely to abate.

:34:20.:34:25.

That was my guests, let's return to the pictures allegedly showing

:34:26.:34:29.

porture in Syria. We now have via Skype the barrister Jeffrey Knight,

:34:30.:34:37.

who prosecuted Slobodan Milosevic for the European war crimes tribal.

:34:38.:34:42.

What do you -- tribunal. What do you make of the pictures? The same as

:34:43.:34:47.

what I make of the evidence as a whole. The inquiry team presided

:34:48.:34:52.

over by Sir Desmond was asked to reconsider. We were asked to look at

:34:53.:35:05.

the reliability liability or owe reliability of -- the reliability of

:35:06.:35:10.

the evidence as if in court. We were asked if it might be acceptable in a

:35:11.:35:14.

court in support of certain kinds of allegations. The images which are a

:35:15.:35:24.

small selection of some 23,000 images that have already been

:35:25.:35:28.

reviewed by the scientists on the inquiry team and of themselves

:35:29.:35:35.

partly we understand of a similar 20,000 images, show some what

:35:36.:35:43.

systematic treatment of dead bodies that have about them recurring

:35:44.:35:49.

features of apparent starvation. Of being beaten, of being subject to

:35:50.:35:54.

ligatures, not hanging, but ligatures around the neck. Also some

:35:55.:36:04.

evidence of elect cushion. Electrocution. The patterns of

:36:05.:36:09.

markings on the body have been removed because of security and

:36:10.:36:14.

sensitivity to the family of the person who has died, show the

:36:15.:36:17.

particular Security Service that it has been said by the witness, who we

:36:18.:36:25.

found no reason to disbelieve, showed the Security Service of the

:36:26.:36:31.

concern that dealt with the execution of the person. Other

:36:32.:36:34.

markings on the body had been obscured for the same security and

:36:35.:36:39.

sensitivity reasons and might give the identity of the person. And of

:36:40.:36:43.

the faces of course that have been blanked out for reasons of the

:36:44.:36:47.

family sensitivity. Those features of bodies coming from

:36:48.:36:53.

detention centres and photographed in hospitals and according to the

:36:54.:37:05.

witness there after buried in some rural location. They are the sorts

:37:06.:37:12.

of systematic behaviour that point to not any local criminality but

:37:13.:37:17.

towards the systematic, and the widespread and systematic conduct of

:37:18.:37:24.

the officers of the state that would constitute a jury or panel of

:37:25.:37:28.

judges, to accept the evidence of crimes against humanity. Thank you

:37:29.:37:32.

very much indeed. Anyone who has ever had a teenager is familiar with

:37:33.:37:38.

the troublesome 11.00am wake-up call. It doesn't usually follow

:37:39.:37:41.

two-and-a-half years of sleep. On the other hand the resipant of the

:37:42.:37:47.

alarm call isn't usually 500 million miles away. More's the pity you

:37:48.:37:54.

might say. Officials at the space station were not sure that it would

:37:55.:37:59.

wake up after getting his alarm, but the shuttle, Rosetta, did wake up.

:38:00.:38:11.

All it needs to do is meet an as significant nation named 67 P, later

:38:12.:38:18.

this year. Earlier I spoke to Professor mark -- mark McCockrin.

:38:19.:38:32.

What was the feeling when you saw Rosetta switched on again? It is

:38:33.:38:35.

hard to describe the attention in the room at that time. There is not

:38:36.:38:41.

enou cliches, I don't think. The signal came a bit late, later than

:38:42.:38:46.

we anticipated. It was coming out, I was going to say a bolt out of the

:38:47.:38:49.

blue, it was more like a bolt out of the black. It was no context, it

:38:50.:38:53.

wasn't like we were handing somewhere or docking with a

:38:54.:38:56.

spacecraft. We were waiting, when the signal started building up on

:38:57.:39:00.

the screen. The sense of rebelief was astonishing. We are slightly

:39:01.:39:03.

reserved European, we looked around, do we hug and shout. We thought,

:39:04.:39:08.

yes, 20 years after the mission started we will have some release

:39:09.:39:15.

here. I don't want to rain on your parade, it implies you don't have

:39:16.:39:20.

confidence in your technology? We had actually tried it out before we

:39:21.:39:25.

went into hibernation. Where he We tried it out 31 months ago and a bit

:39:26.:39:30.

before that. We had a good idea how this was going to play out. But, it

:39:31.:39:35.

is the first time we have ever taken a spacecraft like this and cold

:39:36.:39:39.

soaked it out in the Solar System by Jupiter. There were some elements we

:39:40.:39:43.

are uncertain about, it could have come an hour or two hours later. And

:39:44.:39:48.

we wouldn't have been technically worried, but would have been biting

:39:49.:39:53.

our nails. I think we were probably 95% certain. I can say that in the

:39:54.:40:02.

full confidence of hindsight. Here now is Dr Chris Lintott, a

:40:03.:40:10.

cosmologyist and presenter of Sky At Night. It would have been

:40:11.:40:15.

embarrassing if it didn't wake up? It is, it is working, and it is good

:40:16.:40:20.

it is accepting back data about how he's doing. Didn't that look like a

:40:21.:40:25.

staged celebration? It is a very European celebration, this is how

:40:26.:40:28.

you tell it is not a NASA mission. You know the feeling of setting an

:40:29.:40:34.

alarm and waking up in the middle of the night and not certain it is

:40:35.:40:37.

going to go off. That is what I felt earlier today. For those working on

:40:38.:40:42.

the mission for 20 years that was a big moment. You mentioned 20 years,

:40:43.:40:46.

when the project was authorised, 1993. At that time it seemed a

:40:47.:40:53.

sensible mission, 20 years on is it still a sensible mission? It is rare

:40:54.:40:57.

in space science to do something never done before. This probe will

:40:58.:41:04.

ride alongside a comet, after it sling shots around and gives off

:41:05.:41:09.

water, gas and dust. We have never seen it happen before. We have flown

:41:10.:41:13.

past comments but never alongside one. The chance to see things that

:41:14.:41:18.

one hasn't before is very exciting. Let me put a penny-pinching

:41:19.:41:23.

question, of course you are very excited, how much money is spend on

:41:24.:41:29.

this? About are a billion euros, about the same of the # 80s as an

:41:30.:41:40.

information metaphor. Anyone will be glad to have that kind of money to

:41:41.:41:44.

blow on an enthusiasm? The money doesn't go to the comet, it is spent

:41:45.:41:50.

here on earth and goes to people and technology and industries throughout

:41:51.:41:54.

Europe, this is money well spent and we will get a fabulous ride out of

:41:55.:41:58.

it as a bonus. What is so exciting about going to a comet, we know it

:41:59.:42:02.

has water on it, we already know that? We do, but not whoa what type

:42:03.:42:08.

of water. There is a Serie that all the water of the earth, including

:42:09.:42:13.

this cup, came from comets. It will have come, we think, from comets

:42:14.:42:17.

just like the one Rosetta will chase. Rosetta will put a land on

:42:18.:42:24.

the comet and take a fresh sample left over from the Solar System and

:42:25.:42:28.

tell us whether earth's water did really come from space in this way.

:42:29.:42:38.

Isn't that common sense? We know it was volatile and hot, it had water

:42:39.:42:43.

in the early days, we think it evaporated. We are learning the

:42:44.:42:47.

story of our own planet and learning a history lesson for years. The

:42:48.:42:57.

Oxford Dictionary defines a cafe as a small restaurant selling light

:42:58.:43:02.

meals and drinks. If a new chain of coffee shops takes off, that

:43:03.:43:09.

definition will have to be big changes. There is no charge for

:43:10.:43:16.

coffee tea and biscuits, just the time you spend there.

:43:17.:43:21.

To a part of Shoreditch, where Greeks come after buying up other

:43:22.:43:26.

parts of London. You have to pass a fashion exam to get past the

:43:27.:43:36.

borders. Up two flights of stairs in East

:43:37.:43:40.

London. This is the happening new "joint" for your daily hit of Joe.

:43:41.:43:48.

First collect your carefully-coursed alarm clock. I'm no Fiona Bruce, but

:43:49.:43:55.

it is late 20th century, if I'm not mistake. The idea is you pay for the

:43:56.:43:59.

time you spend here, not what you eat or drink. This discreet visual

:44:00.:44:09.

aid will monitor how much of your license fee we are ploughing into

:44:10.:44:13.

the cap. In a moment we will get a review of Scott Bentley from the

:44:14.:44:29.

coffee-lovers magazine. That is not amazing. But first, good

:44:30.:44:37.

old Scott is making us coffee. Good action. It is not BYO here, but it

:44:38.:44:45.

is DIY. WTF? When people come to cafe, they buy things and they feel

:44:46.:44:50.

some how the pressure. They have to buy new cups, every half an hour or

:44:51.:44:57.

wise the waiter won't be happy with you. You feel guilty because you sit

:44:58.:45:01.

too long. Here the place is so cheap and you can drink as much coffee as

:45:02.:45:10.

you want. Ivan is the young Russian entrepeneur behind the Black Cafe.

:45:11.:45:17.

There is several in his homeland? The consumption system puts you in a

:45:18.:45:21.

position of someone like a servant and someone as consumers. In fact we

:45:22.:45:27.

are all equal, we would love to speak to each other like we are.

:45:28.:45:34.

Like John and sellia or someone. Sylvia.

:45:35.:45:42.

What is to stop one naveling all of s -- snaffleing it all. We read the

:45:43.:45:49.

tea loaves. If I do something for you I want you to do it back to me.

:45:50.:45:54.

In fairness, fairness trumping everything else, it trumps money. I

:45:55.:45:59.

guess in this case the act of giving people an environment where they can

:46:00.:46:03.

be free and help themselves, means there is an onus on those to respect

:46:04.:46:06.

that, therefore they return the favour and it is fair. We have run

:46:07.:46:12.

up a tab of 6p in the cafe that charges by the minute.

:46:13.:46:18.

It is like you have gone round to yourian's for a cup of tea. It is

:46:19.:46:24.

great, we don't have a lot, instead of renting a studio and something, I

:46:25.:46:30.

would come here. It is a niche market, it is great to see creative

:46:31.:46:34.

people around. It is for people like us, young and cool and yeah, that

:46:35.:46:44.

has stunned you! What about the man from caffeine magazine, can he see

:46:45.:46:50.

this pay per minute coffee shop being something that will catch off?

:46:51.:46:54.

It is a place to meet, friends, family, business aGanttances, that

:46:55.:46:58.

happens everywhere, I don't think there is too much of a problem. I

:46:59.:47:02.

think the coolness of it is definitely working here. Here Here

:47:03.:47:09.

in Shoreditch, but a lot is down to the deck cor as well. As the --

:47:10.:47:17.

decor as well. As many say, been there done that.

:47:18.:47:20.

Steve Smith living near the edge there. That is all we have time for

:47:21.:47:23.